June 18, 2008

Situations arise
because of the weather
And no kinds of love
are better than others

Kai Althoff, Winter, 2002

Three poems by Sarah Hannah:


Every so often I am dilated; the pupils
Swallow everything—a catchall soup,
Two cauldrons, stubborn in the bald glare

Of bathroom light. They are hunting sleep—
The sea grass, the blue cot rocking;
In sleep I am a Spanish dancer,

Awaiting my cue at the velvet curtain,
Now and then groping for the sash,
Or on horseback, abducted, thumping

Through pampas. I sleep too much;
I curl in at midday, sheepish,
In strange rooms. Clouds are hurrying by—

The walls, a wash of white; still my eyes
Are mazing through their dark gardens,
The great lamp shut, the crescents duplicating.

It is only a temporary state of affairs.
The sun boils behind the moon.


The first: domestic, tamped in pots,
Unloaded into wheelbarrows, fitted tight in plastic trays.
Her foliage is sweet: leaf hearts; her petals symmetrical and flat.
She bides inside your gate, keeps low and still,
Faints easily from lack of drink and too much sun,
Though on occasion, after dark, she might
Dare light your way along the primrose path
Of you-know-what. Summer’s end, her ribbed pods
Swell, implore you for release.
Best keep her locked and watered.

Her wild twin just won’t be bartered,
Won’t be packed in sixes, sold, dangled from a fence.
She grows tall and full of juice along the river, woods.
And those gem-like mouths—red and orange wrath,
And laughter—simply nod, refusing to take fright
At foxes, squall, or stomping deer. Alone
On no man’s land, she procreates at will,
Or wills wind or quill to pop her. Silver paths
Crisscross her leaves; it’s just a fancy maze
That leads back where you started. Touch her. Touch her nots.

The Disappointments of Photography

I was five years old, in a red and white patchwork.
Poised and grimacing with Olympian effort,
I flung a Slinky at the camera. Unblinking,
My father released the shutter,
One-hundredth of a second
Of light on a toy spring --
A pile of white line arching from my hand.
The silver rings had gone,
Long fallen. I hunt them now, on all fours,
Through every upright line on the lawn.
The past is a space between grasses, a channel in the loam.
Once I was luminous, I was clicked and shaking,
My skin a dry plate of open pores,
My dress brighter than Ektachrome.


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